Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Radiation management

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

The University is committed to ensuring the health, safety and security of staff, students and others who work with ionising or non-ionising radiation. Due to the potential for both short and long term effects of exposure, unauthorised use of radiation is not permitted. Personnel must receive training to ensure their health, safety and competence before commencing work with radiation.

  1. Legislation
  2. Responsibilities
  3. References

Legislation

The Radiation Safety Act 1975 and the Radiation Safety (General) Regulations (1983-1997) impose a number of restrictions for the use of potentially hazardous radiation producing equipment. The Act is administered by the Radiological Council which is a statutory body set up under the Act. The Act and Regulations refer extensively to current Australian,/New Zealand Standards and National Health and Medical Research Council codes.

Equipment covered by the act includes high powered lasers, x-ray machines and transilluminators. Such devices must be registered with the Radiological Council, and some of these devices may only be used by personnel who are suitably qualified and experienced, or by personnel who work under the supervision of such a person. Recognition of competency is determined via a licensing system that is administered by the Radiation Health Branch of the WA Health Department.

The registrant and the University Radiation Safety Officer, under the general regulations, are required to institute and maintain a system of radiation safety at the University. In particular, the registrant must appoint a Radiation Safety Officer and a radiation safety committee to perform duties imposed regarding radiation safety as below:

  • prepare working rules for the safe use and operation of radiation
  • ensure that the regulator is fully informed of radiation usage at the University
  • ensure that appropriate safety devices, equipment, radiation monitoring and surveying devices are available, regularly tested and in good order
  • provide medical examination of radiation workers where necessary
  • maintain all records required by the Act and Regulations to be kept by the registrant
  • ensure that any conditions, restrictions or limitations imposed on the registration are complied with
  • notify the registrant of any suspected or known contravention of the Regulations and Act
  • if any person is unnecessarily exposed to radiation, evaluate the radiation dose received by that person
  • notify the registrant of radiation doses which exceeds the limits or any abnormal or unplanned radiation exposure
  • ensure relevant radiation users have the appropriate licences or are under the supervision of a licensed user.

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Responsibilities

The responsibility for implementation of the safe management of radioactivity rests with the Heads of Schools, managers and supervisors. Each workplace is responsible for preparing and enforcing its own procedures and for informing, instructing, training and supervising staff and students whose activities are affected by this guidance. Assistance with this is available from Safety and Health.

To assist Heads of School maintain radiation safety within their schools, the University has nominated School Radiation Safety Officers and Laser Safety Officers.

Staff and students are required to comply with the workplace procedures and to report any accidents or incidents and also any safety, health or security concerns. Each individual is responsible for taking reasonably practicable steps to ensure their own safety and personal security when working with radiation.

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Other References

  • Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984
  • Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996
  • Australian /New Zealand Standards 2243.1:1997. Safety in Laboratories. Part 1.
  • Australian /New Zealand Standards 2211:1997. Laser Safety.

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